Anissa Lyttle and Debbie Watkins sort clothes at the News Clothes for Kids office in Kingsport. Photo by David Grace.
With the weather turning colder, many kids in need can’t wait for the holidays to receive a new coat or warm sweater.
“The goal is to make sure the kids are warm to go to school,” said Anissa Lyttle, founder of New Clothes For Kids — an organization that provides new clothing, shoes, backpacks and other necessities for local families in need. “We’ve been getting requests in for four or five weeks now with the weather getting cooler for kids needing jackets and socks and shoes.
“We still had kids wearing flip-flops two weeks ago. (We’re) even (getting requests from) kids who need pajamas because it’s cold at night. Kids who aren’t sleeping well and who aren’t warm can’t concentrate in school.”
NCFK recently completed its annual back-to-school campaign — providing school clothing and supplies to nearly 400 students.
Now, however, they’re beginning the “Cold Weather Clothing Campaign” for 2007 and are in need of help to provide cold weather clothing for those students who may not have the proper winter attire.
Lyttle stresses that this is not a holiday campaign, but simply an effort to make sure children are warm and properly dressed throughout the entire winter.
“Kids can’t wait for Christmas to get a sweatshirt,” Lyttle said. “The goal is just to make sure they’re comfortable and able to be at school, participate in things and to go and play outside in their jackets.”
Since NCFK takes applications for clothing through schools, the organization has very specific requests to fill. Currently, the main area of need is monetary donations, which will be used to purchase requested clothing items for students. Community members may also “adopt” a specific child and either provide sponsorship dollars or purchase items for him or her. Lyttle said it takes approximately $60 to provide for a child’s winter needs.
“Most of the needs, and what we need money for, are the teenagers — the kids that are 11, 12 and up into high school who wear adult clothing,” Lyttle said. “That’s mainly who needs sponsors — the older kids, middle and high school.”
Those wishing to assist by donating new clothing or by organizing a clothing drive may also do so. Lyttle said NCFK has plenty of hats and gloves but is always in need to socks and underwear of all sizes.
Items purchased and collected for the winter drive will be handed out directly to kids through their schools, hopefully, as soon as next week, Lyttle said.
Monetary donations can be sent to: NCFK, P.O. Box 215, Kingsport, Tenn. 37662. For more information call 360-4065.
Applications for aid are not accepted directly by NCFK. All referrals must be submitted through a participating school representative.